IG-88 - Everything You Want to Know About the Star Wars Bounty Hunter IG-88

By: Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

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IG-88 was built too tall to fit into the bounty hunter set in Star Wars Empire Strikes Back so he was positioned on a lower platform.

IG-88 was a bounty hunter character featured briefly in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back movie from 1980. He literally has less than a minute of screen time and one of those is a total throw away moment that appears to show him dead. But that’s one of the great perks of running ones own website, you can do random articles about obscure characters like IG-88.

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The Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back bounty hunters scene. From left to right: Darth Vader, Dengar, IG-88, Boba Fett, Bossk, 4LOM, Zuckass.

Like all things Star Wars, you know that fans and creators couldn’t just leave it at that. No, there is a whole giant IG-88 mythology that sprang up after Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back about what happened to IG-88 following his brief appearance. Sadly, now that Disney owns Star Wars, those stories have largely been relegated to the land known as Star Wars Legends, or as I like to call it, Those Stories Are Pretty Cool But Don’t Count Any Longer Land.

In Star Wars Legends lore, IG-88 was actually four separate assassin droids: IG-88A, IG-88B, IG-88C, and IG-88D. Each droid meet it’s own fate, including one that apparently uploaded himself into the second Death Star and was blown up in Star Wars Return of the Jedi. This also explains why IG-88 appears to be dead in a brief scene in Star Wars Empire Strikes Back only to have stories told about him which took place after Empire Strikes Back like those in Star Wars Shadows of the Empire.

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As Chewbacca rummages around the scrap pile in Cloud City in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back, IG-88 appears to be non-functioning leaning against the furnace.

But again, those stories are now “legends”. There has been very little post-Disney ownership IG-88 activity. IG-series assassin droids have appeared in Star Wars The Clone Wars animated series and in the animated Star Wars Forces of Destiny but it may very well be that in the new Disney canon, IG-88 may have met his one and only fate in Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back. It remains to be seen.

IG-88, never the less, still has some interesting tidbits to be discussed. First, in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back where we first see IG-88 along with the other bounty hunters being hired to track down the Millennium Falcon, if you look closely, IG-88 is actually standing on a lower platform than the other bounty hunters. IG-88’s designers apparently built him over seven feet tall which ended up being too big to fit into the shot while filming so he had to be placed on a lower platform than Darth Vader and the other bounty hunters, thus obscuring his feet.

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Also, famously, the head of IG-88 is a recycled prop from the Star Wars A New Hope cantina scene. That prop is actually a scrap Rolls Royce jet engine part. Yes, IG-88 is technically built from Rolls Royce scrap.

IG-88 has had a few, but not as many as you would think, comic book appearances dating all the way back to 1980. In this new Disney era there are still a lot of potential stories in the IG-88 character and, at the rate Marvel Comics is putting out Star Wars comic books, you almost have to expect that sooner or later the tall, slender, assassin droid will show up with some new canonized story. Perhaps, IG-88 is even still running around alive in the Star Wars universe somewhere.

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In the image on the right you can see the cantina props, one of which, would later be repurposed as the head of IG-88.

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IG-88 didn’t get any respect in the comic books either. His first appearance in the Marvel Comics adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 mostly obscured him with a word balloon.

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IG-88 appeared again in the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series in issue 50, though again it was briefly.

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IG-88 returned again for a more substantial story line in issues 70-72 of the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series paired up with fellow bounty hunter Bossk.

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IG-88 in issue 71 of the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series.

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IG-88 in issue 72 of the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series. Chewbacca takes down both IG-88 and Bossk with one blow.

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IG-88’s final appearance in the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series was in issue 85 but at least he got (a minor) cover appearance.

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No longer part of official Star Wars canon, the old Star Wars Shadows of the Empire series took place immediately following Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back and consisted of a novel, comic book series (by Dark Horse), and a video game. IG-88 was featured prominently in both the novel and the video game but only briefly in the comic book series where it appears he was destroyed by Boba Fett in a battle over the frozen Han Solo.

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IG-88 as he appeared in the animated Star Wars Forces of Destiny.

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So far, we have seen very little of IG-88 in the new era of Star Wars comic books. He is briefly show in a pre-Empire Strikes Back flashback scene as part of the crowd in Jabba’s palace in issue 1 of the 2015 Darth Vader comic book series.

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An IG-88 6 inch and 3.75 inch action figure from the When It Was Cool collection.

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